Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Price of Copper

Many people are becoming more aware that the price of copper is climbing, and climbing on a daily basis. Not many people are fully aware of why it is increasing or just how fast is has risen.

Applications of copper

Copper is one of the most widely used metals in the world, and has been for many many centuries. It is so versatile that its uses include telecommunications & electrical wiring, plumbing & tubing, cooking instruments, roofing & architecture as well as uses as a compound salt in other applications. Copper is traded daily all over the world as a commodity, just like gold, silver & titanium. While not reaching the prices of precious metals, copper is constantly in high demand.

Copper is a non-toxic metal, unlike lead and mercury. It is a good conductor of electricity and heat. Minute quantities are essential for human and plant health, indeed many people go as far as wearing copper bracelets and report feeling healthier. Even in the copper industry, there are no known "occupational illnesses" reported from working with copper. Add it all up, and copper is not only good to work with, but very desirable.

Demand for copper

At the same time that copper is becoming ever so popular once again as a decorative metal in the home & garden, it is also in massive demand around the world, in countries such as China as they industrialize and build new infrastructures and communications. Several years ago, China overtook USA are the world's largest consumer of copper.
Industry continues to consume copper, with 40% of US copper consumption going into that arena. But use in the home is picking up as people switch out to copper wiring, with such usage tripling in just 5 years.


As with all economics, pricing comes from supply and demand. As demand increases, how can the supply keep up? At many times, it just cannot or does not - not just because it cannot be mined & refined fast enough either. For example, Chile supplies 1/3 of the world's supply of copper, but in August of this year, the Chilean copper miners went on strike. Strikes are not uncommon nor limited to Chile or even South America. When one country or even major operation shuts down, the stocks that are available increase in price.

Pricing has therefore been rising for the past couple of years and doesn't show any signs of turning back.

Is it all doom & gloom? We hope not! Copper is as useful and desirable today as it was thousands of years ago - much more so in fact, as the world's need for copper increases and new applications are found. At The Metal Peddler, Inc we speak to customers every day who are drawn to copper, its usefulness and its beauty. We have strived to keep our prices as low as possible & we don't compromise the quality of copper that we purchase either! While we might be paying 70% more than we were a year ago, you - our customer - are not. Of course, there may come a day when we have no choice, but in the meantime we do what we can for our customers & clients, to achieve what they want at an affordable price.

Related article: Keeping Prices Low

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